A look inside the locker room of the football team's new quarters in the Yawkey Athletic Center. (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)
Yawkey Center Opens Doors
By Stephen Gawlik
As the Boston College football Eagles get ready for next month's spring practice, they are getting acquainted with their new home on the north side of Alumni Stadium.
The $27 million Yawkey Athletic Center, a four-story, 72,000 square-foot addition to the stadium, recently welcomed its tenants: the football team's coaches, staff and players, and Office of Learning Resources for Student-Athletes.
"They wanted to be in there for the spring so they could give the facility a dry run ahead of the normal fall football season," said Construction Project Manager Edward Stokes, "and it's ready for them."
Crews were putting finishing touches on the building last week as Coach Tom O'Brien and the staff prepared for spring practices while LRSA administrators got their offices' operations underway.
"It's really a remarkable facility and it's going to serve the University well," said Stokes.
University Athletics Director Gene DeFilippo said the construction of the Yawkey Center, and other recent improvements to the football team's facilities and resources, will be a boon to BC as it moves to the Atlantic Coast Conference for the 2005 season.
"Boston College has made a tremendous commitment to keep its football program among the nation's elite," he said.
The first floor of the new building features a state-of-the-art sports medicine facility and new locker rooms. A BC Football Hall of Fame that will be completed later this year will feature memorabilia, exhibits and interactive demonstrations. The hall will be open to the public during normal business hours.
The second floor includes a bi-level weight room with new equipment and team classrooms. The third floor features offices and meeting rooms for football operations as well as an office designed to welcome recruits and their families.
The fourth floor houses the new offices for LRSA, which includes a computer lab, a larger study area and six smaller tutorial suites for small group instruction or individual tutorial sessions.
"We're thrilled to be here," said LRSA Assistant Director Dard Miller. "This new facility is conducive to an optimal educational experience."
Miller said the new LRSA offices come equipped with all the latest instructional technologies, including wireless Internet access points.
"It's right up there with the best facilities we've seen at other schools," said Miller, who has visited similar centers at a number of other Division I universities.
She said that BC has more than 700 student athletes, many of whom make use of LRSA and now have better facilities available to assist them in their college careers.
The top floor of the building features a large 180-seat conference room that any campus group may reserve for use, as soon as it is available.
"It's got a lot of attractive features about it and I think it will be a very popular place to have meetings," said Stokes.
Construction of the Yawkey Center began just after the end of 2003 football season. It was designed by Architectural Resources Cambridge and built by Shawmut Design and Construction.
The Yawkey Center has been funded by a $15 million grant from the Yawkey Foundation, established by former Boston Red Sox owners Thomas and Jean Yawkey, and gifts from alumni and friends of BC athletics.
Stokes said that with the completion of the Yawkey Center, work will begin shortly on a plan to reconfigure a portion of Conte Forum to accommodate other athletic teams. This summer additional work will be done outside of Conte Forum and the Yawkey Center to reconfigure the roadway and add attractive landscape features.